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Redskins' rookie class not just about RG3

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Sports,NFL,Redskins,John Keim,RG3

Morris, Cousins, Robinson and others contributed

The draft class was about more than one player, hard as it was to sometimes believe. That's a good thing, too, because without a few other rookies selected in last spring's draft, the Redskins might not have reached the postseason.

Here's a look at the Redskins' 2012 class:

Overachieved
First-round pick Robert Griffin III threw 20 touchdown passes, only five interceptions and accounted for 4,015 yards of offense. Of course, there's that matter about his right knee and when he will return. But Griffin did everything hoped for and more as a rookie. His presence created opportunities for many players.

Nobody came out of nowhere more than sixth-round running back Alfred Morris. That is, unless you expected him to rush for a club-record 1,613 yards. It wasn't just because of Griffin and the zone read option, either. Morris proved to be a good fit in this system with his vision, patience and toughness.

On pace
Whether quarterback Kirk Cousins can win for a long stretch remains to be seen (and might be seen in 2013). But he showed that he could be a good backup, helping to beat Baltimore in relief and Cleveland in a starting role. He's more prone to mistakes than Griffin, but he's not afraid to make any throw.

Keenan Robinson started to play well as a backup, getting more time in passing situations because of his speed and coverage ability. The fourth-rounder also helped on special teams. The Redskins love Robinson's smarts, but his season ended in late November thanks to a torn pectoral muscle. At the least Robinson is progressing to be a solid backup and special teamer.

Still waiting
There was no need for third-round guard/center Josh LeRibeus to start immediately with Kory Lichtensteiger back at left guard. But LeRibeus was inactive for 10 games while playing from scrimmage in two games. Had LeRibeus mastered a second position, he likely would have been active much more, but he struggled to get used to snapping in the pistol formation. LeRibeus still factors into the future and -- if Lichtensteiger signs elsewhere -- could be in line to start in 2013.

As expected
Fifth-round pick Adam Gettis, another guard, and sixth-rounder Tom Compton, a tackle, weren't expected to help much this season. Neither one did, allowing both to develop at a better pace for a young lineman. Gettis needs to learn how to anchor better; he's strong but needs to bend his knees more to prevent getting stood up. Compton increased his strength, which was necessary. Whether he can play remains to be seen, but his lack of strength hurt him in the preseason, preventing him from redirecting rushers.

Cornerback Richard Crawford, a seventh-rounder, did well to make the final roster and is a smart player. But the Redskins did not like the way he guessed in certain coverages, leading to big plays. He also needs to improve on special teams to prolong his career. Crawford needs to work on playing vs. the slot receiver. He still projects to a fourth or fifth corner.

Safety Jordan Bernstine, another seventh-rounder, was an interesting prospect because of his speed, but after tearing two ligaments in his knee, it's uncertain what to expect from him in the future.

jkeim@washingtonexaminer.com

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